Spotlight Sport: Rugby Sevens

Rugby sevens is a fast paced, thrilling game involving two teams of seven players and just fifteen minutes (including a one minute break) to win or lose the game!

Rugby sevens is played on the same sized field as rugby union, up to 100 metres long, so players need to be agile and fast to keep possession and cover the field. This means that rugby sevens players are often smaller and more nimble than rugby union players who are normally big and strong to take part in heavy contact and tackles. The increased emphasis on speed and timing makes Rugby sevens an action packed game to watch!

Rugby sevens will feature at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for the first time with 12 teams competing for the gold medal! Team GB will be represented in both the men’s and women’s events at Rio, after England secured places for Team GB during the World Sevens Series.

Facts About Rugby Sevens

  • Rugby sevens originates from Scotland. The game was originally created by a local butcher and keen rugby union player Ned Haig, who proposed a short version of the full game as a fundraising idea for his local club.
  • The first rugby sevens tournament took place on April 28, 1883 at Greenyards, Melrose.
  • Although rugby sevens features in the Olympic Games for the first time in Rio, rugby union was part of the programme in the Paris 1900 Olympic Games in, London 1908, Antwerp 1920 and then again in Paris in 1924.

Athlete Q&A

What is your first memory of the Olympic Games?
My first memory of the Olympic Games was Barcelona 1996: I loved sport and watching all the different sorts of sport so to have it all on TV for a couple of weeks was amazing. I never thought I’d get the chance to be selected to go to a Games so to have that dream getting closer and closer to being reality is incredible.

What are some of your other favourite sports?
I loved Formula 1 when I was younger so if I wasn’t a rugby player I would have wanted to have been a racing driver. I’m sure people would say my driving skills aren’t up to scratch though… I did manage to get to Silverstone for the first time this year however, which was a pretty amazing experience.

What is your favourite food?
I love a road dinner and if I was going to choose my favourite three course meal I’d maybe start with a smoked salmon dish, followed by a roast dinner and a chocolate fondant for pudding. I really like cooking but I’m not very good at winging it. I have to follow a recipe but my wife and I like trying new dishes out.